Astringent

« Back to Glossary Index

Refer to Related Articles

Astringent (Wikipedia)
A crystal of alum, an astringent

An astringent (occasional alternative: adstringent) substance is a chemical compound that tends to shrink or constrict body tissues. The word "astringent" derives from Latin adstringere, meaning "to bind fast". Two common examples are calamine lotion and witch hazel. Another example would be Yerba Mansa, a native plant of California.

Astringency is also the dry, puckering mouthfeel caused by tannins found in many fruits such as blackthorn (sloe berries), Aronia chokeberry, chokecherry, bird cherry, quince and persimmon fruits, and banana skins. The tannins (which are types of polyphenols) bind the salivary proteins, causing them to precipitate or aggregate and lead to a rough "sandpapery" or dry sensation in the mouth. Tannins are found in some red wines and teas. A small amount of astringency is expected in some wines, especially young red wines made from grapes such as cabernet sauvignon and merlot.

« Back to Glossary Index